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FIND THE COWARD; Plea on hit-and-run boy, 6.

Byline: JAN DISLEY

A YOUNG motorist who ran away after a crash which left a six-year-old boy fighting for life was being hunted last night.

Police issued a picture of little Declan Murphy in hospital to try to help the search for the cowardly driver in the Christmas Day smash.

Declan was in his parents' car when it was involved in a collision with a green Renault Laguna.

The Laguna driver fled on foot from the scene in Runcorn, Cheshire, as the youngster and his parents lay injured.

All three were taken to hospital. Declan was later moved to intensive care at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Pendlebury. He was said to be improving yesterday, but still serious. His mother Joanne Davies, 30, was comfortable. Dad Thomas Murphy, 29, was discharged after treatment.

Another Christmas Day car horror claimed the lives of newly-weds Christopher Mallet, 46, and his wife Ann, 41.

The couple, who wed at Gretna Green six weeks ago, were driving home from visiting friends at 1.20am when their Peugeot estate was hit by a BMW near Holbeach, Lincs.

Police had just spotted the BMW without lights, but the driver failed to stop. The same patrol came across the accident two miles away. The BMW driver, a Polish man, also died.

The Mallets, from Spalding, each had two children from previous marriages. Mr Mallet's son Darryl, 21, said: "He wasn't just a dad - he was our best friend. Ann was finally the right one for him."

A 28-year-old woman pedestrian knocked down and dragged for a mile in a hit-run at Crewkerne, Somerset, on Boxing Day died yesterday. Early on Christmas Day, a pensioner driving the wrong way on the M1 in Northamptonshire caused a smash in which he and another man died.

Leonard Sanderson, 69, from Congresbury, Avon, was heading south on the northbound carriageway in his Sierra when he hit a Honda Accord driven by Safdar Ali, 50, from Leeds.

CAPTION(S):

TRAGIC: The Mallets; VICTIM: Declan Murphy in hospital. The youngster's condition is improving
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2002
Words:340
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